Abu-Jamal's Radio Broadcasts
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government has become the most prolific user of doublespeak, especially
when it comes to legislation that affects workers. Right
to work = right to scab; paycheck protection
= cut unions out of politics; free trade = give jobs
to other countries. R.S. Bo Marlow, pres.,
UAW Local 882 (Local 882 *News/Solidarity*, Sept. 03)
several years since the vaunted Clinton Administration and Wall
Street brought you NAFTA. To quote a former New York Mayor, the
question is: Hows it goin?
like most Americans, times are not so hot. Over 3 million Americans
are out-of-work (and that just counts those still looking for work,
and still getting unemployment benefits!).
Thanks to NAFTA,
millions of American jobs, especially those in manufacturing, are
gone; and gone forever. That cranky, big-eared, funny talking little
guy who challenged both Bush and Clinton during the 1996 presidential
race remember Ross Perot? warned of a giant
sucking sound if NAFTA got passed. It was, he declared, the
sound of millions of jobs leaving these shores to Mexico and other
low-wage havens. That funny little guy was right.
Well, if you
liked NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement), youll love
the FTAA, and the upcoming CAFTA. Billed as the Free Trade Area
of the Americas and Central American Free Trade Agreement (set for
2004), these acts promise to do what NAFTA has done on an ever grander
The logic behind
all of these provisions is simple: business can move its manufacturing
costs to the places where labor is inexorably cheapest; and labor
As Clinton once
told us: Its the economy, stupid. What he meant,
of course, is the economic health of corporations, not individuals.
In the decade
since NAFTA, the nations service economy employs the largest
percentage of workers, with unions like SEIU (Service Employees
Industrial Union) having the biggest memberships. Many are paid
frightfully low wages, but it would be even worse were it not for
bargaining units like SEIU. For millions of young, working class
kids, service jobs are the only viable ones available, if at all.
And service jobs virtually always provide lower wages than manufacturing
As the presidential
campaigns roll around again, listen to what the guys and gals, of
either of the major corporate parties have to say about NAFTA, FTAA,
or CAFTA. Chances are, most of them wont have squat to say,
or will even support it. Thats because, for most politicians,
greasing the palms of corporations is the easiest way to raise campaign
coffers, and most would rather shoot off a toe than piss off a potential
Press them on
it! Other than Ohios Dennis Kucinich, most will not broach
this delicate area (Kucinich opposes it).
The United Auto
Workers (UAW) is working against the FTAA and related so-called
fast track deals. If you have internet access, check
for news alerts and updates.
Coming up soon,
on Nov. 17 to the 21st, labor and social justice groups are organizing
for a planned meeting in Miami where trade ministers throughout
the western hemisphere will be trying to push FTAA forward. If youre
interested and have internet access, contact: www.stopftaa.org
something, but it really isnt enough. When you see those Clinton
clones get up and talk about how much they just love
labor, dont let them get an inch further without asking them
for their position on NAFTA, FTAA, and CAFTA.
If you fail
to do so, youll be looking back, ten years from now, and you
wont be able to recognize anything, but more social wreckage.
Jamal is a member of the National Writers Union, Local 1981 of the
2003 Mumia Abu-Jamal
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© copyright 2003 by Mumia Abu-Jamal.
All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission of the author.